Antarctica was out of this world.
I prepared myself by reading some books about the continent – mostly by privileged Journalists who were invited to the research bases. The common thread was how one could never ever underestimate this untamed place.
The Drake Passage was rough, and I saw it as the final price to pay to reach Antarctica. And it made the destination much sweeter – especially after two days of ceaseless pounding and rolling. Seeing the mirror-like waters lined on both sides with icebergs and silent snow-capped mountains was akin to entering a sacred place.
The sights were also very breathtaking. Almost like stepping into an alien world – maybe because it was so devoid of human interference, apart for a few base camps that we saw. The penguins and seals that we saw during the landings was also a reminder on how amazing some animals were by virtue of being able to survive naturally in this harsh environment. The lectures that the expedition team gave were a grim reminder of how vulnerable this place and all its native wildlife were.
The crew and staff on board were very professional. I had grown used to hearing the hotel manager’s voice over the public broadcast during meal times, as well as the expedition leader when he announced the upcoming programs. The hotel staff, ship crew and expedition team were very helpful and friendly. Over the course of 9 days, I felt like we were all part of a familiar group.
All in all, it was a once-in-a-lifetime journey. I made some good friends and listened to their hilarious stories.